Some photos of my wrap scrap quilt! I made this as a picnic quilt although I tend to use it more as a throw rug. I love to look at it and see scraps of wraps that I carried my children in or scraps of brands that were popular when I was babywearing. The scraps are mostly from Natibaby, Girasol, Didymos and Oscha wraps and a few from Tula Wovens, Pollora, Pavo, Diva Milano, Firespiral, Ellevill, and Kokadi. The quilt reminds of when my children were babies and how sweet it was to hold them close.
The quilt was made from woven baby wrap scraps and denim sourced from old denim jeans - I like the colour variations from the different pairs and the wear on some of the denim squares gives character. I quilted it by stitching in the ditch so the quilting is pretty much invisible. I added a machine washable bamboo batting as life with children is still messy and I want the quilt to be used. The binding was made from a lightweight denim and was hand sewn. I lost count after a while but I think this took approximately 20 hours to make in total. Cutting out all the squares took the longest! I only worked on it now and then when I had some spare time so it took about a year to complete. This is only the second quilt I have ever made and I was really pleased with how it turned out. It had the added bonus of making a good dent in my wrap scrap pile!
Hong Kong 1940's (source:http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/digital/collection/agsphoto/id/23471/rec/76)
The traditional Meh Dai (Mei Tai)
Mei tai/Mei dai/bei dai/ are transliterations of a Chinese word 背带 meaning ‘baby carrier’ A meh dai is comprised of a square or rectangular shape with a four straps (on the top and bottom). Chinese baby carriers are commonly also found with two top straps only but the western meh dai has been adapted from the version with four straps. Meh dai’s are used with both babies and toddlers and traditionally are mainly used to back carry. In western countries they are often used on the front and occasionally even for a hip carry (although this isn’t very common). There are similar carriers which are found in other parts of the world (eg parts of Africa) but it seems likely that the western mei tai was directly adapted from the Chinese version. This is explicitly stated by The Nursing Mother's Association when discussion the origin of their Meh Tai (Meh dai)
"For the last decade we have
advocated the use of a baby sling
similar vo the type in which
Asian women have carried their
babies lor centuries. The sling is
called a "meh-tai". which I
understand is Chinese for baby
The Canberra Times Wed 29 December 1976 page 2
When this style of carrier and similar ones from asian countries like podaegis/ hmong/nyia, and onbuminos became popular in the US in the early 2000’s they were lumped into the umbrella term Asian style Baby Carrier (ABC for short) . When reviews were fist set up at The Babywearer (the most popular online babywearing forum at the time) there were only categories for "traditional carriers" and for "soft pack carriers" and no separate category for 'mei tai'. However it was soon suggested that as these carriers were inspired by traditional Chinese carriers the term mei tai should be used to better reflect the carriers origins. More recently the spelling meh dai or bei dai has become popular as it more accurately reflects the pronunciation in the Cantonese and Mandarin dialects of Chinese respectively.
Traditional Meh Dai’s
There was certainly variety in Chinese meh dais. There was variety of body shapes, hoods made of lattice work fabric strips, shoulder straps padded with plant material, headrests and even pockets! Carrier covers for cooler weather are found too Many traditional carriers are beautiful works of art, embellished with intricate embroidery with symbolic and cultural meaning (I highly recommend the book 'Bonding via Baby Carriers' – there are many wonderful Chinese baby carriers pictured).
Traditional Chinese meh dai’s were usually tied with the straps twisted at the chest and any excess tucked.
The traditional carriers used in Hong Kong had four Straps around 110cm each, tied at a knot at the chest. At the end of one or both shoulder straps the corners were folded over to the centre to form a pocket in which to carry a few coins. In the 19th and early 20th century The panel was quite large measuring up to 60cm. Gradually the overall size of the carrier became smaller during the 20th century. The carriers worn by the Cantonese and Hakka were about 25cm square. The shoulder and waist straps were a continuation of the top and bottom edges. The Hoklo and Tanka fishing people used carriers which were slightly smaller overall, longer straps were fixed diagonally to the four corners. Head supports were often attached. These were made of folded strips of cotton about Icm wide stitched at intervals to form a lattice square and attached to the top edge of the carrier to support the baby’s head. In the 1970’s it was usual to see most young children carried in these cloth carriers. Sadly By the early 2000’s the use of these traditional carriers has almost completely disappeared. Imported mass produced had mostly replaced them and most mothers tended to carry their children in front following Western fashion.
(Chinese Baby Carriers: A Hong Kong Tradition Now Gone Valery Garret Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society © 2001 Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
Hong Kong 1957 https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/177188566575051521/
Children carrying siblings Hong Kong 1956 (source https://gwulo.com/atom/22127)
Western children in Hong Kong were usually carted around in prams. The exception to this was in the early's 1940's when Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese and many western families were interned in Stanley Camp. Traditional baby carriers were used by mothers and babies there.
The photo below is a sketch drawn in Stanley Camp of a traditional baby carrier in use. You can see a flat shot of the actual baby carrier pictured in this drawing in an article about a reunion of the camp inmates (the baby grew up and kept it!) Link to article https://gwulo.com/node/30240
Vintage Mei Tai (Meh Dai) - Pre Internet
Early western versions were quite close to the traditional Chinese ones. While there was quite a bit of variety in the traditional ones they generally they had thinner, unpadded, and shorter straps than the meh dai’s seen in western countries today.
Pre Internet - Early Commercially Produced Meh Dai’s
The meh dai seems to have first appeared in the west in Australia first in the 1960’s. Variations may have been around before this in other western countries but I haven’t found any other earlier commercially made examples so far.
There were very few commercially produced meh dai's or similar carriers with tied straps before the early 2000’s. The meh dai (Meh tai) sold be the nursing mothers association is the earliest example I have found. It was quite close to this traditional design with four relatively short straps designed to be tied at the chest by twisting all four straps together. The carrier was also fairly lightweight with thin straps (but the shoulder straps were padded unlike in a traditional carrier). This early version of the mei tai was designed and sold be the Australian Breastfeeding Association (then called the Nursing Monthers Association). It was sold as the Meh Tai and later a version with clip version which did up with buckles was designed.
The ABA meh tai had short straps and could be worn in the traditional way or in this variation. The lower straps were tied around the waist like an apron. Then the baby was held against your chest and the body of the sling pulled up over baby's back. The top straps went up over your shoulders, then crossed behind your back, then each should strap was tied onto the waist straps.
"In 1966, NMAA Founder Mary Paton and her family were featured in a Herald newspaper series about Melbourne families. This busy mum literally flew home from another engagement to meet with the reporter and photographer at her home. Whether by good luck or intention, Mary had her youngest child on her back in a Meh Tai and the photographer suggested she "do something" he could photograph her doing in this strange thing. Mary grabbed the vacuum cleaner and was thus captured for eternity cleaning the house wearing a smart dress and high heels - donned for her earlier engagement! The response from readers was amazing, contacting the newspaper asking where they could buy such a thing - and Mary quickly announced that NMAA made and sold them"
This photo was published by the Herald in 1967 to help publicise the Meh Tai and was used on the Meh Tai packaging and instruction sheet.
Another newspaper photo that appeared on the front of the Wagga Daily Advertiser February 1976.
Below in the Meh Tai instruction booklet from 1984.
Some more examples - produced later but still the same design.
Source: Google Images
There was also a similar style being sold by at least one US LaLeche Leaque group in the 1970’s.
'Later on, in 1975, my second child was born. By that time I was a member of LaLeche League and our little group was making a mai tai-type carrier out of soft denim with a Raggedy Ann or Raggedy Andy appliqued on the seat and selling them for $7. each to support our group! I so wish I had a photo or had kept it. It was so cute! And handy!
Instructions to DIY mei tai like carriers could be found in Family/ DIY/ Mother's magazines in the 60's,70's,80's, but overall information access to traditional baby carriers before the internet allowed an explosion of sharing is fairly rare.
One example can be found in this English pattern book. This design from 1979 is close the traditional in that is has 4 straps of equal length and the top straps are straight across rather than angled but it is being worn in more of a western style (straps are crossed and tied behind baby's bum rather than twisted together at the front)
I have a separate blog post about this pattern if you would like to learn more here.
The Comfey Carrier was likely another early meh dai although I couldn’t find a picture of it to confirm this. This carrier had no buckles, could be used for front and back carriers and included two long straps that the user would cross in back and tie in front. The carriers were around from at least 1989 and they were still being sold in 1997
"It's deceptively simple. It's made of washable cotton stretch velour, no buckles or anything to adjust. You just place the baby on it, bring part of the carrier up through her legs, tie it around her waist, then bring two long straps up over your shoulders, cross them in back or front depending on where the baby is and tie around your waist on the other side. Baby can be face in or out, front or back (4-ways) and (this is the best part) is so secure you can bend down to pick up something off the floor and s/he won't fall out. It's incredible comfortable to wear. I have a bad back and I could hike for hours with a 4-month old in this carrier.
Mei tai’s really took off around the early 2000’s probably at least partly due to the fact that the internet had made the sharing of information about different baby carrier options much easier. A cottage industry was soon born - many online shops were opened with each small company or hobbyist adding on their own distinct twist to the meh dai. These makers developed many of the features and fabrics we see on meh dai's today. There are now dozens of different brands of mei tai’s (some still available new and some no longer in production) with a wide variety of features such as head supports, sleeping hoods, pockets, long padded or wrap style straps, mesh panels for hot weather, and cinchable bodies for easier use with different aged babies. More about this in part 2!
Chinese Style Baby Carriers in Hong Kong https://gwulo.com/node/38670
Chinese Baby Carriers: A Hong Kong Tradition Now Gone Valery Garret Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society © 2001 Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch
Chinese Style Baby Carriers in Hong Kong https://gwulo.com/node/38670
Information about the comfey carrier
https://www.facebook.com/groups/125491030798530/ (public group with some information about the ABA Meh Tai)
Beloved Burden: Baby-Wearing Around the World, 2015 by I. C. van Hout (Editor)
Bonding Via Baby Carriers: The Art and Soul of the Miao and Dong People 2001 by Yu-Chiao Lin, Christi Lan Lin, and Brenda Liu Lan
threads from thebabywearer.com (you will need to join The Babywearer to read the posts)
Interesting discussion about the origin of the word 'mei tai' after one vendor tried to trademark it
Another wrap scrap skirt! This is made from the same pattern as the Vatanai skirt I made. The pattern I used was the Lovejill reversible wrap skirt (bought from Etsy). I really like this pattern although I think it is best made in a drapey non wrap fabric, like a lightweight cotton. It was a hassle to get the hem sitting nicely as one side or the other (mainly the lining) seemed to settle unevenly probably because cut on the bias the wrap is stretchy (had the same problem with the Vatanai version). I fixed it in the end but it was rather time consuming to get right. The skirt is made from an Ellevill Paisley Tango - bamboo/cotton blend. These same colours are used in the Jade Chilli ring sling (available in my shop here). This wrap is lightweight and has a lovely drape so perfect for a wrap skirt. The lining was upcycled from an op shop find (it was probably a small tablecloth originally). I loved the vintage vibe (and I love strawberries too).
How do you modify a Hipababy full buckle to make it a better fit for a small baby?
With a custom made carrier you the option is available to add a built in cinching system and some in stock carriers will have this available too. If your carrier doesn't have the built in adjustments you can modify your carrier by cinching the base with a ribbon and/or wearing the waist apron style. Wearing the carrier with the carrier a little higher on your body than shown below will also shorten the body panel further.
A baby size carrier (38cm x 38cm/ 15"x 15") is suitable from around 6 months or so but when cinched will work from around 6kg/00 clothes (or around 2-3 months). Infant size (35.5cm x 37cm/14" x 14.5") works from around 4 months uncinched or from newborn (4kg cinched). Don't use a larger sized soft structured carrier with a small baby as you will not have enough back support increasing the risk of slumping.
When using a full buckle with a baby under 4 months baby's back must be well supported and baby's chin must not fall onto their chest (which can obstruct breathing). Baby also must not be buried right down into the carrier. Ideally you would want the top of the carrier (where the straps are attached) no higher than earlobe level.
Below are some tips and tricks on how to use the built in adjustments, or if you have basic carrier without built in cinching some tips to help to get a better fit.
The carrier in these instructions is a baby sized carrier with adjustable base and sides. The demo doll is wearing 00 clothes so is around the size of a 3 month old.
How to modify with a ribbon
If you have a standard carrier with no built in adjustments you can use a ribbon or accessory strap to cinch the base of the carrier to a narrower setting. It is easier to tie the ribbon on with the waistband already clipped around you as the waistband will lay flatter that way. Tying with a ribbon will also shorten your carrier a little. If you need to shorten the height even further you can wear the waist apron style (more on that later).
Using a carrier with built in adjustments
If your carrier has built in adjustments cinch the carrier as shown in the photos and then put your carrier on as normal. Fold the edges of the waist back on itself like an accordian. This will keep the fabric from slipping back and will cover the velcro strip. For an in between width, fold more loosely or just scrunch the waist instead. Remember make sure your baby is close enough to kiss! This will ensure you can moniter baby's airway and the higher you wear the waistband the shorter the panel will be be which also helps to get a good fit.
How to wear apron style
Wearing apron style will shorten your carrier. You will need to remove the buckles and re-thread them the opposite way for this method so your buckles don't end up upside down. Flip the waistband so the reverse side facing out and the panel is hanging down like an apron. You may also need a ribbon for this as the folds on the adjustable waist tend to spread a bit wider when worn apron style. Put the panel on as you normally would. When you are finished you will not see the waistband under baby's bum as you would when wearing in the regular way. If your carrier has a built in height adjustment you can cinch the panel before putting the carrier on and that will shorten the carrier the maximum amount.
Height of the panel uncinched.
Height of the panel cinched with the built in drawstring and headrest folded down.
Summer is here! Your baby still wants to be carried but how can you be more comfortable when the weather is hot? Here are some tips.
Do I need a summer carrier?
Not necessarily. If you have a carrier on the warmer side and are going to be spending a lot of time in air conditioning and/or don't often need to go out in the hottest part of the day you may find your current carrier just fine. When you do venture out you can make sure you and your baby are well hydrated and dressed lightly, and you can use accessories like cooling towels to make summer wearing more comfortable. If you are looking for a summer carrier though there are lots of options!
Single Layer Carriers
Ring slings are a great option for summer since there is only a single layer of fabric over you and your baby. Choose a summer friendly fabric like linen or silk. Cotton jaquard or wrap conversion ring slings often also work well, especially if you choose lighter, airier options or linen blends - just avoid very dense and heavy wraps. The tail of your ring sling can also be used as a sun shade!
For a two shoulder (or no shoulder!) option, try a narrow blanket podaegi (also know as a Nyia) as the weight bearing portion of that carrier is the straps so the body of the carrier (blanket) can be a single light layer of fabric.
Meh dai's (mei tai's) can also be fine for summer since they are generally lighter than a lot of buckle carriers and less bulky (although my buckle carriers are non bulky so a nice summer option too!) Meh Dai's and SSC will usually give good aiflow due to the open sides (if you have wrap straps just bunch rather than spread them). When choosing a meh dai or buckle carrier for summer look for lighter breathable fabrics like linen, a medium weight canvas or a lighter weight wrap conversion (linen blends are nice). Some mei tai's and buckle carriers also feature mesh panels. Flat hoods tend to be cooler than hoodie hoods as they allow more airflow along the sides.
Summer Worthy Materials
Certain fabrics have specific qualities that may make them more suitable for summer babywearing.
Linen is a great fabric for summer. It is a natural fibre so is breathable as well as airy, and has great moisture wicking properties which help to keep you cooler on hot days. Linen is great for ring slings and feels very supportive despite it's lighter weight (linen fibres are very strong). Linen also works well for meh dai's and buckle carriers.
Cotton can work well for hot weather, depending of the weight of the fabric. Medium weight cotton duck is a great summer weight for meh dai's/ mei tai's and half buckles.
Bamboo can also work well for summer. Bamboo can often be found in exercise and summer clothing as like linen it wicks moisture and is very breathable. It offers some protection against UV rays and is antibacterial.
Mesh panels help to keep your child's back cooler (they don't benefit the parent so it's still a good idea to look if the carrier is non bulky and breathable overall). Solarveil is my favourite mesh. It's very airy and open and is the coolest mesh I have ever tried. It is unfortunately no longer being manufactured so once my stock of it is gone that's it! Heavier mesh like kooknit and spacer mesh are still helpful though in maintaining airflow and are available in a wide range or colours.
Consider the weight of the fabric too. A thinner cotton or linen will be cooler than a heavy linen blend. However thinner fabrics can sometimes be less supportive so it is important to consider the age and weight of your baby.
A lighter weight baby carrier will allow some cooling through the fabric itself, so choose the lightest weight carrier that gives you the support that you need.
Babies have delicate skin so it's important to protect them from the sun.
For the best protection against UV rays remember that any fabric convering skin is a good start, but fabric alone in not necessarily going to have a high SPF (with the exception of purpose made UV resist clothing) so choose a baby safe sunscreen and a hat.
Stay in the shade as much as possible (but don't rely on shade alone as you and baby can still burn)
Avoid being in direct sun for extended periods of time, especially between 10am and 4pm when the UVB rays are at their strongest. If it isn't possible to avoid the hottest part of the day you can try using an umbrella, a light cotton blanket/fabric, or the tail of your ring ring sling to provide some extra shade.
Current sun protection guidelines for babies and children can be found here:
More Tips To Keep Yourself And Baby Cool
Use water! Bring a spray bottle or portable mister to cool yourself and baby down or drape a cloth dipped in water around your neck (or use a cooling towel). Cooling towels absorb and hold water. You can then wrap the towel around your neck or head for a cooling sensation. Any towel soaked in cold water will help to cool you down but the difference with cooling towels is that they are supposed to hold the coldness in longer which in turn gives longer relief from the heat.
To cool you down while babywearing use the towel across your chest, around your neck or between babies back and the panel of the carrier. One side of the towel needs to be cooler for the heat to radiate away so these towels don't work as well when placed between baby and caregiver. Additionally don't use these directly on the skin of very young babies as they can't regulate their own temperature as well as older children (use the towel to cool yourself instead which in turn will help to cool your baby)
Rinse your shirt in cold water to provide some temporarily relief.
Keep yourself and baby well hydrated. Breastfed babies under 6 months don't need extra water but may need to feed more often.
Clip on Cooling Fans - these can provide temporary relief and be clipped to the shoulder strap of your carrier. Look for the version with foam blades for added safely.
Consider keeping a layer of fabric between you and baby so you both feel less sweaty. Wear a top with a higher neckline or place a thin piece of material between you.
Remember that whatever carrier you are using acts as a layer, too so dress baby lightly.
Stay in the shade whenever possible and schedule activities for the cooler parts of the day.
Wear a wide brimmed hat and choose a hat for baby with a velcro strap so baby won't pull it off (handy for back carries!) Try an umbrella to make your own shade. You can also use the hood of your carrier or the tail of your ring sling for some extra shade.
If you are wearing a buckle carrier occasionally loosen the shoulder straps a little and move your baby away from your body slightly to let some air flow between you. After you have cooled off tighten the straps up again.
If you have an older baby or toddler try a hip or back carry to allow for more air flow.
Create your own breeze. Fan yourself with your ring sling tail!
Walking can provide some airflow but if you are sitting still for a while (and it's convenient) take baby out of the carrier for a break to cool off.
A narrow blanket podaegi (also known as a nyia) is so versatile. Let me count the ways...
Yaro Quantum is a Doctor Who wrap and it was fun to turn into a skirt. I had a big scrap around 150cm and used virtually all of it. The pattern isn't directional. If you had a wrap that was you would need quite a bit of extra length for the same size. This skirt was made from the same pattern as the Girasol one (Collette Ginger skirt). I omitted the front seam this time and didn't cut on the bias. It was so much easier to sew (I think bias cuts are not well suited to wrap fabric). I was very happy with how this skirt turned out. I did noticed it creased a bit at the top by the end of the day (from sitting down) probably because this skirt is fairly fitted at the top and the wrap has some body/less drape than some other fabrics. It didn't bother me though. This skirt has a very flattering cut and I think it would look good on anyone.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of different waist styles? All the waist styles are comfortable to wear but there there are subtle differences between them. Below is some information to help you choose.
All of my carriers have a padded waist. When worn non apron style. a padded waist helps to transfer your child's weight to your hips rather than your shoulders. Padding can also prevent the waist band from digging in when worn to carry heavy kids. The waist is not too thickly padded though so you can also wear it apron style if you prefer. Wearing apron style (and sometimes rolling the waist too) is handy for shortening the body of the carrier when wearing with a smaller baby.
This is an option for meh dai's/mei tai's , half buckles and reverse half buckles (buckle shoulder straps). Pictured below is a reverse half buckle. I usually sew this waist as a continuous length double layer (11cm wide). Sometimes there is not enough continuous length in a wrap for this so I can usually get around that by sewing the waist in three parts and the ties can be double layer (11cm wide) or single layer wrap style ties. I will also sometimes sew this waist in two parts (joined in the middle of the wasitband) with double layer ties. It just depends on how much continuous length available in your wrap. If you have a preference just let me know.
Advantages: Can reduce the muffin top look (especially if you have single layer ties) as you can spread the straps out across your stomach. If your waist ties are long enough you can thread them through the shoulder straps for a waist free carry. A tie waist is very easy to share between different sized wearers.
Disadvantages: Can take a little practice to get the waist tightened effectively. Takes slightly longer to put on. You need to check you are untiying the right knot when taking baby down (shoulder straps should be untied first).
No Webbing Waist
Similar construction as a tie waist but this style has a buckle threaded through the strap and the ties are slightly narrower so it's easier to thread them through the buckle. The total length is shorter than a tie waist (approximately 70") so the length will not be too annoying when the buckle is threaded on (a buckle takes up less length than a knot).
Advantages: Can be used both as a buckle or a tie waist. Quick to put on and off when used with the buckle threaded. A buckle waist is easier to get a firm, tight fit and is handy if you want the waistband in a specific spot every time you wear it. You can't accidentally untie the wrong knot when using the buckle. Minimizes the muffin top look as straps can be spread out more across your stomach.
Disadvantages: The length may be short for plus sized wearers when used as a tie (but a longer length is available in custom orders). When the buckle is threaded on this style is not as easy to share between wearers as the fabric ties are not as easy to pull through the buckle (especially the single layer ties version). This waist is best adjusted before putting the carrier on. Once adjusted though you can just leave it set so it's quick to put on, as long as the carrier is not often shared with another wearer.
This waist adjusts with a buckle and webbing.
Advantages: Quick to put on and off when used with the buckle threaded. A buckle waist is easier to get a firm, tight fit and is handy if you want the waistband in a specific spot every time you wear it. You can't accidentally untie the wrong knot if you have a buckle waist and tie staps. There are elastic ties on the end of the webbing so excess webbing can be rolled up out of the way for a neat and tidy look. Easy to share between different wearers.
Disadvantages: If you are very petite you may prefer a custom length for the padded section of the waistbelt.
This waist has a ring closure. You thread the tail through the ring in the same way you would thread a ring sling. The total length of the waist is 155cm (length can be customized)
Advantages: In a back carry you can spread the fabric out across your stomach very comfortably and it is easy to tighten. Easy to do a high back carry without the waistband slipping or loosening. Very easy to share between different sized wearers.
Disadvantages: The long tail may be annoying for petite wearers (can by customized easily though). Can take longer to put on than a buckle or tie waist.
There are lots of reasons why you may want to remove the colour from a woven wrap. I don't strip wraps often now that I'm not really babywearing anymore but in the past I occasionally would purchase a wrap that I preordered or bought online that when it arrived the colour was not as expected. Sometimes the colour was downright hideous or sometimes the colour just didn't go with my skin tone, but I liked the pattern or the wrapping qualities otherwise. Stripping is also useful if you have a dark coloured wrap and want to dye a lighter or completely different colour. Some stripped wraps are actually rather pretty and can just be used in their new form rather than be dyed over.
Below is an easy method you can use to strip colour in your washing machine. I have have used it successfully many times. Be aware though that not all colours will strip. The wraps I personally tried have been fine except for one yellow wrap but I have heard that blue can be hard to shift sometimes.
Only strip plant based fibres. Don't strip silk or wool. It may be best to avoid bamboo too unless you can test a scrap first.
Firstly you need Dharma Color Remover (also known as Thiourea Dioxide or Spectralite). You can use this method in a washing machine (front or top loader). I use my front loader. If you prefer to use the stove top method follow the instruction on the Dharma site instead -
You need an equal amount of Color Remover to Soda Ash. To strip one size 6 wrap you'll need 100g or Dharma colour remover and 100g of Soda Ash (also known as washing soda and easy to find in the supermarket). For a ring sling just halve the amounts (and unpick the rings first).
Put both powders in the washing machine drum (not the detergent compartment). I put the colour remover in first and the soda ash on top. Then put the wrap on top of the powders and set the machine to wash on the 90 degree cycle with at least one or two extra rinse cycles.
Make sure your laundry is well ventilated as here will be a smell towards the end of the cycle. After the cycle wash again in 60 degress with your usual detergent. Your wrap will be a bit stiff and crunchy at first but will quickly break in again.
I came across this method in the natural mamas forum and there's lots of great tips in the original thread. Here's the link http://www.naturalmamas.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?133995-Stripping-is-easy-a-little-advice-to-mamas-wanting-to-do-so-)&highlight=dye+front+loader.
dHere is a example of a wrap I stripped and dyed. This is Natibaby Linden. I preorderd this and it looks pretty in photos but the cream is really yellow and I didn't like it much when it arrived. I loved the pattern though!
Wrap stripped - the tan area is very slightly lighter and the lighter part of the pattern is now grey.
How to add embelisments, accents and pockets to your ring sling . This article was originally published by me as a pdf. You can find the pdf and other DIY patterns on my DIY page. Don't have time to sew? Custom orders are available. Please contact me for details.
Your ring sling doesn't need to be boring. Adding bling to your ring sling is easy! Some of these ideas can be sewn straight on top of the tail or a plain ready made sling and others require you to sew the accent on before you sew in the rings.
Adding ribbon, beaded trim, or braid is the simplest way to decorate your sling. You can create some great effects with ribbon or beaded trim. You can also sew a ribbon to the bottom or top of a fabric accent.
Fabric Accent With Optional Hidden Pocket
I generally don’t do accents longer than 42cm from the bottom edge of the tail so the accent won’t get caught in the rings if being shared by more than one wearer and the pocket (if you have one) is useable. The pocket will gape open if it is too close to the rings so take this into account when deciding what length of sling to make or the length of the accent. 30cm is a good accent height. You can leave a gap between the bottom of the accent and the bottom edge of the sling for a nice contrast or sew the accent right to the bottom edge.
Fabric Needed: width of finished sling + 2.5cm x (length of accent + 4cm (for pressing and hemming).
1/ Hem the top edge of your accent then turn and press bottom edge under 12mm. The edge of the accent can be right on the bottom edge of the sling or you can place it 5-10cm from the edge. If you don’t want a pocket in your accent you don’t need to hem the top edge, simply press the top edge under by 12mm.
2/ Press the two short edges under by 12mm.
3/ Pin the accent on the wrong side of the sling (the side with the seam at the rings showing and the side of the tail with the neat side of the hem), so when the sling is threaded the accent will end up on the right side. Sew the sides and bottom edge of the accent to the sling.
4/ Sew the top closed to complete your accent or follow the directions below to make a hidden pocket.
Adding a hidden pocket
5/ Divide the tail accent in three and mark with tailor’s chalk to the width of the accent. Sew three lines of stitching over your marks.
6/ With the right side of the tail (fashion fabric side) facing up, sew the top edges of two sections closed, leaving the middle section open to form a pocket.
7/ Cut one or two small pieces of Velcro about 3.5cm long. Sew one hook and one loop piece to the top of the pocket and the sling body to help keep it closed.
Tip: When adding an accent to a reversible sling, when threading your machine, put your top colour of your sling through the needle and the bottom colour in the bobbin. The sewing lines will be hardly noticeable on the other side. Alternatively use the sewn in accent method.
See the pocket section for some more examples of accent slings.
Length of material needed 74cm x 84cm (or double the width of accent you want plus 2.5cm seam allowance added).
1/ Put your sling on and decide where you would like the top of the accent to fall. No higher than around 18cm from the rings is a good guide, to prevent the accent being caught in the rings when making adjustments.
2/ Fold one long edge of the accent under 12mm. Pin on the edge of the sling or further up covering some of the tail (it depends on the finished length you would like, how you want the accent to sit and if you want to cut off any of the tail before sewing). Sew this edge to the sling.
3/ Fold the accent in half wrong sides together and pin the short edge on the tail, following your previous stitching line. Carefully pin the short sides together, then sew the two short edges from top to bottom. You can also topstitch along the bottom of the accent for a neater finish.
Overhanging Lace Accent
I think a very long lace overlay looks great on the tail of a sling but you can use a shorter length for a less dramatic effect. See information about accents above to decide on the length, just add some extra length if you want a tail overhang.
For the sling below which has a very long accent you will need about a metre of fabric which will overlap the end by about 25 – 35cm. After you have made up your sling, cut your lace to size and hem the end and sides, then iron the top edge over by 12mm or if it has a neat selvedge you can just leave it. Pin the lace in place and sew to the sling along the top and sides..
Sewn in Accent
This method gives a neat finish on a double layer sling. Decide how long you would like the accent to be then subtract the same amount of length from the side you want the accent to show on. Don’t forget to add 12mm seam allowance to your solid colour and accent fabric.
Begin with two the long pieces of your sling fabric. Sew the accent to your short solid colour piece, right sides together, turn right side out and iron. Sew the two sides of the sling using the reversible sling directions found in the Hipababy Ring Sling Pattern (see my DIY page). Find the turning hole and iron the seam allowance inwards. Topstitch. You are now ready to sew in the rings.
Patch pocket with optional flap and velcro clousre
The flap of this pocket is handy to ensure nothing can fall out of your pocket and if you place the pocket on the sling edge you can fold the whole sling up and tuck it up into the pocket for handy storage. You can use these directions to make a simple patch pocket and it is easy to alter the size of the pocket to suit you. The dimensions given below are for a small pocket, with the finished size of 23cm x 23cm. I use a 6mm seam allowance for the pocket flap and 12mm for the rest of the pocket
Cut your material to these dimensions – 25.5cm x 25.5cm
Cut the pocket flap 25.5cm x 18cm
1/ Hem the top edge of the pocket and press the sides under. Sew a strip of Velcro to the top edge of the pocket (right side). You can sew Velcro along the whole top edge or put a small strip in the middle or two small strips on either side. For a pocket with no flap sew the Velcro to the wrong side of the pocket. Sew to pocket to the sling. Move the top of the pocket out of the way a little to sew the opposite strip of Velcro to the sling.
2/ Right sides together fold the flap in half and sew around all edges (6mm seam allowance), leaving a hole for turning.
3/ Turn the pocket flap right side out, press and then pin and sew three edges to the top of your patch pocket. The flap will overlap the top edge of the pocket - by how much is your choice.
Patch pocket and border from a fat quarter
Using a fat quarter you can make a pocket and a border. You will need to piece the border together so choose a design which will lend itself to this.
For the pocket you will need:
32.5cm x30cm (finished size 30cm (wide) by 27cm tall)
For the border on the opposite side you will need: 7cm x width of sling, plus 2.5cm seam allowance.
To make the pocket:
1/ Hem the top edge with a 12mm rolled hem.
2/ Press under 12mm on the remaining sides.
3/ Sew two pieces of Velcro to the pocket top (on the wrong side).
4/ Lay the pocket on the sling where you would like to place it. Note where the opposite pieces of Velcro should go. Sew these to the sling.
5/ Sew the pocket to the sling making sure the Velcro pieces match up.
6/ Sew two strips of fabric (right sides together) with a 12mm seam to form a long strip, matching the design. Press the strip and then press all edges under by 6mm. Sew to the bottom of the sling.
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!